Forget the sci-fi approach, Little Joe is a motherhood tale

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On the verge of unprecedented success, workaholic plant breeder Alice (Emily Beecham) spirals into paranoia once her anti-depressant plant starts to provoke sinister side effects. Little Joe slowly builds Alice’s own twisted version of Sophie’s Choice once the plant begins to threaten her relationship with teenage son Joe (Kit Connor).

The film’s take on motherhood and procreation is its most interesting facet. By making her plant sterile, Alice appears to go against nature’s primal rule. “The ability to reproduce is what gives every living being meaning”, says one of her co-workers when questioning the reasoning behind the odd choice. Here, amidst talks of genetic engineering and state of the art science techniques, the discussion between two women veers into a sheer primitive topic, one that seems to incite instant controversy when debated by females, creatures socially designed for motherhood.

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1917

1917

  • Original title: 1917
  • Director: Sam Mendes
  • Release year: 2019
  • Original language: English

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Famously known through the soulful interpretation of Johnny Cash, ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ is a gut-wrenching folk tale of homecoming. As effective as a throat punch, the song became a storytelling accessory when one wishes to express the deep layers of sorrow. Veerle Baetens beautifully brought it to life on Felix Van Groenigen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown as a grieving bluegrass anthem and, in 1917, Sam Mendes places the song in the epicentre of one of the film’s most moving sequences. 

Echoing through the forest, the lyrics reach the tired ears of Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay), a young man assigned a ticking bomb: to cross extremely dangerous enemy territory in order to deliver a message that stands between a bloodbath and the survival of 1,600 men. ‘I am a poor wayfaring stranger, traveling through this world of woe. Yet there’s no sickness, toil nor danger in that bright land to which I go’, sings a frightened soldier, one of the many thrown helpless into the burning pits of war. 

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Bombshell

bombshell

The very sexist, very right-wing empire of Fox News is in the centre of Bombshell, a film that blends fact and fiction to tell the story of how chairman Roger Ailes was publicly ousted of his perennial throne (not before taking home the very comfortable sum of $40 million). The title Bombshell— a sharp wordplay, reflects on the starring trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie; a blonde royal flush of sorts.

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(LFF 2019) Instinct

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  • Original title: Instinct
  • Director: Halina Reijn
  • Release year: 2019
  • Original language: Dutch

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Instinct had its UK premiere at the London Film Festival 2019

In a post-Game of Thrones world, it is tempting to imagine what some of the prime actors of the multi-awarded HBO phenomenon will move onto. Newcomer director Halina Heijn handpicks Carice Van Houten as the star of her directorial debut Instinct, a sexually charged tale of a prison psychologist playing a very dangerous cat and mouse game with one of her patients, a convicted serial rapist.

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The Souvenir

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  • Original title: The Souvenir
  • Director: Joanna Hogg
  • Release year: 2019
  • Original language: English

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Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) is an aspiring filmmaker hungry for a deeper understanding of the world and its maladies. Fighting against telling her own story onscreen, she dives into the fictional tale of a working class boy obsessed with his mother, in a film that takes place in Sutherland, the striking opposite of her Harrods-facing Knightsbridge flat. The young woman is hyper-aware of the bubble she was raised in, one she desperately tries to break from, while still making the most of her entitled life by hosting house parties and having expensive dinners on some of the most prestigious places in London.

The journey of the protagonist is suddenly shaken by the arrival of Anthony (Tom Burke), an older man whose previous military career and current Foreign Office position grant him a worldly aura that easily draws Julie in. Their fresh romance unravels at the fast pace of a first love and soon Julie is saying goodbye to her flatmates and welcoming her beloved in. Anthony arrogantly talks her down, sending Julie into a spiral of self-doubt she struggles to escape from. Their toxic relationship exposes the young woman to a myriad of painful feelings her favoured life had sheltered her from. Both the apartment and Julie are rapidly submitted to the wreckage of Anthony’s unpredictable behaviour, scarred by the growing tension in their relationship.

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